Dark Matter: 28 June 2017

Thanks again this week for all of the kind notes and shares. On to the connected ephemera

This week in everybody in Cannes is totally talking about how scent is the new UI:

The London Squared Map (4min) is a fascinating idea with a challenging remit:

How can a city be reshaped to allow for a more even presentation of data without obliterating the forms that make it a recognizable space?

Put more simply: how does one design to avoid the distortion normally built into map-based data visualizations? After the Flood have done some really smart work here. H/T to Matt Webb for the link.

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Joanne Schofield has written a smart primer on content design (3min) for the Co-op blog. Circulate it generously within your organization.

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Racked has a fabulous profile of ‘indie artisanal perfume pioneer’ Frederic Malle (5min) that you should absolutely read. Really. Still not sold? Consider the opening:

“I was at Chateau Marmont yesterday in the elevator and there was this girl preparing for a party, and I was really sad for her because she smelled like a Duty Free.”

You’re welcome.

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Shipping containers are the new Sarah Records singles: (4min):

He has been keeping his eyes out for a refrigerated Maersk box, which he has never seen. “Maersk might not be the most boutique one to spot,” he said, “but it’s my favorite as a layperson in the world of container spotting.”

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This week in ‘I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought a DMP’:

Preach, Paul Graham:

“Markets don’t work for everything. Truth is one place where they fail.”

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Plenty of people have been circulating Andrew Chen’s excellent essay on the challenges of growth at the end of a tech cycle (9min), and with great reason. He outlines six key trends that serve as meaningful obstacles to product growth, namely:

  1. mobile platform consolidation
  2. competition on paid channels
  3. banner blindness
  4. superior tooling
  5. smarter, faster competitors
  6. “Competing with boredom is easier than competing with Google/Facebook”

The most interesting to me is the parity produced by the fourth factor, superior tooling, through products like Mixpanel that commoditize cohort analysis. We’re working at a really interesting time when complex analytics tools are becoming commonplace. Read the whole piece, please.

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Zillow is threatening to sue the McMansion Hell blog (3min) — always a sign that things are going well.

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I finally got around to Ramzi Yakob’s piece on the enterprise value of first-party data (7min). You should, too. This is especially good:

To me, ‘meaningful use of data’ is any use that has a positive contribution to one of the three ways you can grow a business:

  1. Increase usage of the existing product or service (more people and / or more often)
  2. Increase the value derived from each instance of use (higher price)
  3. Increase the utility of your business by serving a larger number of needs (new products & services / bigger share of wallet)
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Sam Ford on ‘slow innovation’ (6min) is wonderful:

Slow innovation is the realm of pattern recognition: searching for emerging developments outside the organization’s immediate line-of-sight or that may be happening steadily, but not rapidly.​

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This week in training Watson on a steady diet of vintage Geoff McFetridge prints:

Lauren Berliner’s work cataloging LGBTQ ‘It Gets Better’ video templates (7min) makes for absolutely fascinating reading — particularly as relates to the production values of youth publics.
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I love this so much: what is a model? (9min) by Shane Parrish
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It will shock you not at all to learn that consulting firm PwC has developed a 2×2 grid designed to illustrate the role of AI in creative economies (8min). The Creative Intelligence Matrix is poorly named, albeit with some compelling points to make:
“(Organizations) have to invest to create what our colleague Todd Supplee calls data factories: systems that can combine data from proprietary, third-party, and public- and partner-generated sources and extract value. While doing so, they must build the capacity for data governance and be sensitive to norms, regulations, and expectations surrounding transparency and privacy.”
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Using neural networks to explain neural networks (better on desktop than on mobile).

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Until next week.